Under the Pendulum Sun

Under the Pendulum Sun

eBook - 2017
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Victorian missionaries travel into the heart of the newly discovered lands of the Fae, in a stunningly different fantasy that mixes Crimson Peak with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Catherine Helstone's brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her beloved brother is riding to be reunited with her soon – but the Queen of the Fae and her insane court are hard on his heels.
File Under: Fantasy [ In Arcadia | Seek and Hide | The Queen of Moths | Lands of the Damned ]
Publisher: Watkins Media


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PimaLib_ChristineR Oct 06, 2020

The book group questions at the end of Under the Pendulum Sun's ebook edition imply that some of the chapter epigraphs take sections of historical texts and adjust them to imply a historic world in which the Fae actually exist. Interestingly, that is inaccurate. The author, Jeannette Ng, does not change the texts at all. From Biblical quotes to writings by philosophers and religious reformers, Ng takes our historic interest in the idea of fairies and changelings, to blur the line between fiction and fantasy, alternating these real texts with sections from texts by her fictional characters.

The story itself is a "simple" gothic love story, with the fae use misdirection to bring a love to fruition that could break the hearts of the lovers. But Ng gives us a text that is anything but simple. Under the Pendulum Sun is a potpourri of scientific, architectural, and religious thought disguised in a fictional wrapping. For example, Mr. Benjamin, a gnome, and the only convert of poor Laon Helstone, the missionary, plays a corrupted version of the Holy Fool, certainly behaving erratically for a fae, but in his journey to find a mystical experience in Christ, he keeps pointing out inconsistencies in religious doctrine that he poses as questions to Laon's sister, Catherine.

They story was interesting and kept me guessing. Ng has built a world where she has thought about everything from how the sun in this world would actually work, to the frozen air miners living in the shadows; attention to detail is everything. One of my favorite things was how the fae measure distance--e.g. "As close as a childhood memory, as near as an apology."--and then go back through the text and see that that is exactly what the character had to think about before arriving at the destination. So, it had all the things that a good book should have, but there was just so much more. This is a book that kept me thinking about its premises well after I finished the last sentence.


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